Ice Bath Questions - Coming from Mellow Device

I recently used a Mellow and loved it until it broke and I am deciding on replacing it or moving to Anova. The feature I liked best in the Mellow is that it can keep it cool while I am at work and then heat up and start cooking at the precise time to be finished when I get home at a specific time of day.

I know a little about the Anova Ice bath feature but want to know if they have ever gotten a feature yet to where I can just set it and forget it in the morning?

I believe the icebath feature starts cooking when the temperature gets too warm.

Sous vide is very forgiving with time though. There’s not much difference between 2 hours on a steak and 4, for instance.

I am pretty new to sous vide only through my Mellow. Why is this with the temperature?

Not quite sure exactly what you mean, but let’s try.

First thing to remember is the basic mantra: Temperature for doneness. Time for tenderness.

What this means is that the temperature you set for your device, whether it’s a water bath style like the Mellow or an immersion circulator like the Anovas, you food can never get hotter than this. So a bath temp of 130F can’t produce a steak that’s 135F. That’s the obvious bit of the process.

The other part of the cooking process is the conversion of collagen in meat to form gelatin. It is this process that increases tenderness and improves mouthfeel. The collagen/gelatin conversion happens rapidly at traditional cooking temperatures but slows down significantly at sous vide temperatures. Think of a hard working muscle. Let’s use a beef cheek as an extreme example. With normal braising techniques you might cook them for 3-4 hours at 200F (the cooking fluid can never be hotter than boiling point) to get that lovely, gelatinous mouthfeel. Put the same cheeks in a pressure cooker and you might bring the cooking time down to 60 minutes to get the same result because the pressure lets the fluids inside reach above seal level boiling point.

Now let’s look at sous vide temps. To get a similar braise type texture you could cook them at 175F for 10-12 hours. That’s pretty high for sous vide proteins. Drop the temperature down to 155F and the conversion of the collagen slows down further. To achieve a similar texture might take 24-30 hours. Let’s drop the temperature into the ‘medium’ doneness zone at 140-145F… Now the cook might stretch out to 48-54 hours.

Then we get down to my favourite. If we bring the temperature down to medium rare, 130F, with sous vide we have enough control to hold the cheeks at this temp long enough to convert enough collagen to gelatin to give us that similar fork cut tenderness and have it beautifully pink. Now the conversion process will take at least 72 hours… But oh, those results!!

I believe the information that ships with the Mallow is not very thorough and may potentially be inaccurate. A really good place to start the learning process so that you can experiment safely is Baldwin’s Practical Guide to Sous Vide.

Hope this helps some.


Thanks for your really detailed explanation! I have so many questions but purchased an Anova wifi. Going to try it for the first time this weekend. Excited to see how it compares to Mellow!